Sunday, October 29, 2017

Yopping Number Eighteen - Hard to keep a secret

I have done quite a bit of knitting on my Dying of the Light Shawl, but it doesn't really look that much different from last week's picture so I will just make you wait a bit for another peek.

I have turned the heel on my test knit sock, and it is looking scrumptious, but alas, it is a test knit so, again, no picture because - secret!

I DID go shopping for yarn for my On the Spice Market shawl, and was so happy with what I came up with. 

The off white is a soft yummy wollmeise blend for the main colour and the package is for five of the spices.  I am using the red from my Iona blanket for the sixth colour and after consulting with my knitterly friends at my Thursday night knit group we have decided on this order for the colours.

I get very stressed out when choosing colours for my knits because I don't feel confident about colour rules so I bought the box of prismatic colours from Sweet Georgia Yarns and I signed up for their on-line colour course. 

I am very excited about this.  And look, I already learned about using grey scale:

(not that at this point I have any idea what this picture tells me!)

So, ya, I am not going to win any tiaras for stash busting this year because of my retail splurge last Wednesday (not to mention Knit City at the end of September, and Fibres West last March )- but I have kept true to my goal of only buying with a purpose and casting on said project soon after the purchase.  That goal has been accomplished.  Even the little mini skein of red you see in the picture will be the toe and heel of another sock test knit I am doing for a friend.

I am still teaching every morning for a few hours and I am still loving it.  The weather has been gorgeous for walking (and raking) amid the autumn leaves in the afternoons. 

I got my flu shot and pneumonia shot last Wednesday so I have been feeling a little off late in the day but I am sure it will pass soon.

November is almost upon us, and I have promised myself to work on editing my novel through the month as part of Nanowrimo.  Stay tuned - I probably will be posting excerpts on my blog throughout the process. 

To follow all the fantastic progress of my yopperly friends please visit here.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Coming Clean

I have been wanting to write a non-knitting post for a while, but I keep getting waylaid.  Well, not waylaid exactly, more like I keep chickening out.  As if putting the words down will mean it is true and the truth is hard for me, for others, and I do care what others think of me.

I have been working hard on my mental health for the last six months.

I started meditating everyday.

I started taking Bio-K pro-biotics every morning (because I read an article about how depression has been linked to an imbalance of the flora and fauna of our gut, and my gut and I are not on the best of terms.)

I started seriously tackling my French lessons.

I started to learn Croatian for myself and to support my daughter who is living so very far away.

I started Lumosity brain training.

I went to my Doctor.

Who referred me to a counsellor.

Who referred me to a psychiatrist.

Who suggested group therapy.

I was referred to a group for trauma recovery.

Trauma?   Yes, trauma. 

I took the test y'all, and I passsed - with almost all of the symptoms of someone with ptsd.

In the last couple of years I have mentioned to those very very close to me that I felt like I was suffering with ptsd, but to hear it aloud, from a counsellor's mouth, that was hard.

So that is where I have been over the past ten weeks.

And it has helped.

A lot.

I don't feel as crazy.  I feel like the way I behave in certain situations has some context.

I realize I have been a product of trauma in my life for a very very very long time.

And now I have a tool-box to deal with my anxiety.

Literally, I have a tool box filled with things that help me when I am triggered.

And I also have a figurative tool box.

But back to my earlier list.

I started to get obsessed with not losing my streak in Lumosity, Meditation, French and Croatian.

It was exhausting.

I never really got the counter to work on the Croatian app.  But I did do it every day until the short course was over - yay me.

I lost the Lumosity streak first.  no biggie.

Then I lost the French one after about 230 some days.

That was hard - and the program even said I could get in back for $17.99.  Really?

(Ok, I was tempted for a bit).

The meditation one was the hardest.  Some days when I didn't feel like meditating I would put on the app and turn off the volume so it would count my day without me doing anything.

See?  I was cheating to maintain my meditations streak!   How embarrassing to admit.

But then, earlier this week I lost it for real.

And it hurt.

And then my son said - 'Mom, it is about non-attachment.' 


So now all my streaks are gone

Except this one.

I will keep moving forward on my mental health.  I am making progress and I don't need a counter to tell me that.

And one last thing.  I have a friend who speaks Croatian.  I am going to contact her today and see if she will give me private lessons.  We can knit and talk and have tea and I will learn something new.

Without the counter.

Without the stress.

I don't need an app to tell me I am doing ok.

I know that I am getting better and doing ok.

And now?

Now I am off to teach twenty-four thirteen year olds about Copernicus and how he rattled the world by proposing something different.

I can relate.

I bet, so can they.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Yop 17 - Ta-Da = Ta-Done

To see what my other talented yopping blogging friends are doing go here.

Well here I am on Yopping Week 17.  The blanket is done, and I couldn't be happier. It is so smooshy and the colours so vibrant.  I am extremely happy with how the gold i-cord edging sets all the colours off.

I wanted to get an artsy outdoor shot, but it has been raining buckets all week so this is the best I could do:

(notice cedar leaves on porch that need sweeping up after this week's rain and wind storms). If today's clear skies hold I will get to that chore later in the week.

I started Knitterarium's Dying of the Light Shawl and I am very pleased with how the colours are working together.

I also began a sock test knit last night for Ruth..(aka Knitterarium)  I got a few repeats of the pattern done but I wasn't happy with the yarn choice so I restarted with the tangerine left over from the Iona blanket.  It think it will show the pattern much better.  It will be a quick knit, I think, but no pictures until the pattern is released.

I did get some mending done today - one pair of jeans needed a patch on the knee and another needed to be shortened about two inches.  It felt good to get the sewing machine out and I even repaired a small tear on a pair of dress pants as well.   While finishing my mending my eyes settled on the basket of socks that need darning - but I decided that yesterday wasn't that day!

While I was at it I reorganized my closet and got ALL my shawls on the same side of the closet so I can find the one I want when I want it.  Despite the large number already in my wardrobe I am getting ready to start On the Spice Market shawl.  A number of women in my knit group have made it and it is a fantastic pattern.  Luckily I received a gift certificate for a yarn store recently so I plan to make a trip soon to find all the yummy colours I will need.  It needs one ball of main colour and then six different contrasting colours.  I think I have at least three in my stash, but clearly a shopping trip is in order.  

On a non-knitting note it was my birthday last Tuesday and I have already been taken out for three lunches and one dinner!   I made it to the pool on my birthday and swam my age in laps plus two more for good measure.  That made an even 64 laps, or one mile.  I plan to do this every year on my birthday and I plan to live to be 105, so stay tuned!

On a sad note a woman I taught with ten years ago was shot and killed by a stray bullet in Chicago a week ago Friday.  She and her husband were heading out for the evening to meet some friends for dinner.  She was caught in the cross-fire of a drive by shooting.  I taught her niece for five years, and was horrified to see her picture come up on my facebook feed last Saturday.  It is all so senseless and leads to a feeling of despair and helplessness.  May she rest in peace always. 

But, the sun is shining at the moment, after days of torrential rain, and I have prep to do for my grade seven class tomorrow.  Life does in fact go on, it is just so hard sometimes. 

Take care of each other.  Tell your loved ones you love them.  Don't waste a moment. 

May God hold us in the palm of his hand.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Yopping 16 - ALL about the blanket

Well I did it - I finished knitting all the squares for Iona on Tuesday and Wednesday I started to join the squares and then the strips together. 

Last night I added the final strip and then picked up all the stitches from the waste yarn so I am ready to start the edging today. 

I currently have 716 stitches on 4 circular needles (one per side) and I will knit one set-up round increasing to 744 stitches before I start the i-cord. 

I am very happy with the colours I chose and the i-cord will be in the gold colour. 

And then there will so many ends to sew in.

Other than that this week I started teaching a history block to a Grade Seven class for two hours a day, I have been driving around my courtesy car waiting on my own car to get fixed, and my dear husband returned home after spending an extra week with our son, and then six days camping his way home to me. 

The laundry is done, the groceries are in, and after I finish my school prep for next week lessons.  I will be on the i-cord train.  I am curious how much of the gold yarn the i-cord will take.  I have 76 gms left so I am confident that yarn chicken will not be in my near future. 

(Famous last words.)

Then I will start Dying of the light  that I am eager to cast-on and also a pair of Katniss socks

This monogamous knitting is too, well, monogamous for me.

To see what my other blogger/crafty friends are up to go here 

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Yopping 15 - The good and the bad

Short and sweet today, because I am off to Thanksgiving dinner in a couple of hours and I have knitting to do.

I only have 2 1/2 more squares to do on the Iona before putting it all together.  I managed a square a day (except Friday - because I was busy busy busy until bed).

Of course Friday may have been a write off because this happened on Thursday night as I was leaving my Knit Group.

Yup.  My fault.  Turned too soon and the post didn't get out of the way.  Stupid post.

I have a courtesy car now and my car is in the shop.  Thank God for insurance.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Yopping # 14 - White Rabbit

It is the first day of a new month and therefore White Rabbit must be said to bring good luck for the rest of the month.

Ok, superstition aside let us get on with the week.

It has all been about the Iona blanket.  I am motoring through and have finished six more squares.

I only have eight left to go before putting it all together.

The putting together should be relatively easy because I have left live stitches on all my squares - so - yay for not having to pick up stitches!!!

I am in a wip-along to finish this by the end of October.  That is totally doable if I don't get waylaid by casting on new projects.


Knit City happened yesterday - and I just went to look and came home with:

1) hemp for another double-knit zodiac potholder

2) a pattern for a christmas present for my son

3) some Pima cotton for a few more Knitted Knockers

4) some gorgeous sock yarn - called The Road Less Travelled

5) yarn to make another of Knitterarium's shawls  - Dying of the Light

Ancient Arts is another of my favourite yarn companies.


but I can cake it, and pet it, right?

I think I forgot to mention last week that while I was on the little island I picked up some yarn at the free store (it really is a free store - re-cycling/re-using  at its ultimate finest). - Two partial skeins of baby yarn:

And a little friend gave me the cutest thank you gift for looking after her fish while she was away.

and lastly a dear friend brought me this scarf from her travels.

Can you tell all the white spots are little sheep?

To follow all my other wonderful Yopping bloggers go here!

I am off to cast on square 28.

The faces of grief

I know eight parents whose children have died before their time.
Nine if I count my grandmother
Whose son died far too early
And I was too young to know how truly young a forty nine year old is

I know two mothers each of whom had a  daughter die
Days before she was to be born
Years ago, and yet their private grief is etched into their hearts

I have seen wives lose husbands, and heard the grief in their voice as they mention his name.

I have seen a father so torn with grief over the loss of a daughter that he can only bury his head in this hands unable to look up for what must seem like interminable hours.

I have seen the face of a friend wrapped in a towel  The resolute look on that beautiful face.  The selfie of a brave face etched with grief from the loss of her breast.

I have seen my own grief in a mirror's reflection
My face distorted
The ugliness of my tears so vivid that I can only stare at the visual representation of a breaking and broken heart.

I have heard the wailing of my grief, my voice unrecognizable.

I have held others as they wailed, giving voice to the unthinkable. 

And yet.

And yet there are those still moments of laughter, of carrying on, of, what?





Those moments when memories can flood in from a time when we were full of hope and innocence.

Before the world was lost and too real. 

Before death had the final say. 

As I walk past strangers I see grief etched on every face.

Except the faces of the very young. 

And it is those faces that make me brave enough to carry on and to know that what my mother said to me all those times over all those years is true.

This too shall pass.